Today's poem is by Stefanie Wortman

The Gallow Ball (1950)
        repaired in 2001

Smartass conservator, I sense
some misgivings about memory
in your cut-and-paste job. Funny
I just met someone who lost
words like incongruous, syllabus,
though he remembers Stefanie at least
some of the time. As you'd have it,
these mid-century materials
(oil and newspaper on canvas)
comprehend Bush and Chirac,
an account of their energy summit
glazed in the painting's abstract eyes.
A scar follows the curve of an ear
through my new friend's hair.
Under its ridged turning the recent
past may slip, like the susurrus
released from the shell stashed
in pieces in my desk. For some time
he forgot how laughing is supposed
to follow a joke. How will we learn
the rule again? To where will those
you obscured, strike-breaking Auriol,
the Independence boy,
retreat? And then dancing master,
so sure in your intervention, tell me
what to make of this title, which I should
look for first, the turn or the execution.

Copyright © 2012 Stefanie Wortman All rights reserved
from Sugar House Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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